The Lochead Files

Biographical Information

Lieutenant Colonel W. M. O. Lochead

UntitledWilliam Merton Overton Lochead was born on 10 January 1874 in Camden Township, Ontario to parents of Scottish decent. When war broke out in 1914, Lochead was living and working in Waterloo County as a manager with the Mutual Life Assurance Company. He was also the president of the Berlin Board of Trade.

Lochead joined the 108th Regiment as a Major on 7 November 1914. When 108th Regiment recruits transferred to Woodstock’s 71st Overseas Battalion instead of deploying as a unit, patriotic citizens lobbied for, and were authorized to raise two Overseas Battalions in Waterloo County.

The 111th Overseas Battalion was based in Galt, while the 118th Overseas Battalion was recruited from the northern half of Waterloo County, including the city of Berlin. Lochead was promoted to command the 118th, despite the fact that he had barely a year of military service at the time. In the eyes of Militia Minister Sam Hughes, his civic and business accomplishments were just the sort of qualifications required to raise a local battalion.

Lochead faced many challenges getting the 118th up to strength. Local factors included competition from neighboring 111th recruiters, tensions between out-of-town recruits and local citizens, and blowback from his own recruiters’ relentlessly aggressive campaign.

The 118th eventually departed Berlin in May 1916, and sailed for England in January 1917. There, it was was quickly broken up and used for reinforcements to existing units in France and Belgium. As a result, Lochead withdrew from overseas service and returned to Waterloo where he served the remainder of the war as commander of his original unit, the 108th Regiment. He died  in Kitchener, at the age of 86 in 1960.



Date(s) of Creation

1914 – 1917

Physical Description

7 boxes, 1.1 metres

Scope and Content

The Lieutenant Colonel W. Lochead Fonds contain the personal papers of William Merton Overton Lochead, as well as, files on the 118th Battalion. These papers were acquired in the mid-1990s by the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies’ LMH Archive, and cover the 118th Battalion’s existence from 1915 to 1917. The entire collection is digitized and text-searchable.

The Files

File 1 Desertion

File 2 Stationary

File 3 Establishment

File 4 Musketry

File 5 Officer’s Examinations

File 6 Claims

File 7 Discipline

File 8 Returns

File 9 Equipment

File 10 Sick Leave

File 11 Pay

File 12 Marriage Seperation Allowance

File 13 Equitation

File 14 Applications

File 15 Machine Gun Section

File 16A Discharges

File 16B Discharges

File 17 Lochead – Private

File 18 Quarters

File 19 Procurement

File 20 Furlough

File 21 Regimental Funds

File 22 Lists

File 23 Enlistments

File 24 Officer Appointments and Transfers

File 25 Medical Reports

File 26 Prisoners

File 27 Transfer and Documents (various)

File 28 Circular Letters

File 29 Canteen

File 30 Courses

File 31 Books

File 32 Separation Allowance

File 33 N.C.O. Appointments

File 34 Parade States

File 35 Declaration Papers

File 36 Strength

File 37 Patriotic Fund

File 39 Signals

File 40 Supernumberaries

File 41 Band

File 42 Inspection Reports

File 43 Guards, Pickets, Police

File 44 Qualifications of Officers and N.C.O.s

File 45 Accounts

File 46 Medals

File 47A i Transfers

File 47A ii Transfers

File 47B Transfers

File 48 Inquiries re Enlisted Men

File 49 Death(s)

File 51 Boards of Inquiry

File 52 Officers’ Outfit Allowance Claims

File 53 Accounts Inspection

File 54 Absentees

File 55A Officer Appointments

File 55B Officer Appointments


Chadwick, W.R. The Battle for Berlin Ontario: An Historical Drama. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992.

Hayes, Geoffrey. Waterloo County: An Illustrated History. Kitchener, ON: Waterloo Historical Society, 1997.

Nikolas Gardner “The Great War and Waterloo County: The Travails of the 118th Overseas Battalion,” Ontario History Vol. 89: No. 3, 119-236.

Lieutenant Colonel W. Lochead Fonds